Vocational Training for Young Undocumented Immigrants: FSPC Calls for Commitment

A draft bill regarding the vocational training of teenaged undocumented immigrants leads to improvements, but also to unequal treatment, says the official response statement by the FSPC. What is needed are commitment and longer grace periods.
© iStockphoto.com/Sean Locke

The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches welcomes lawmakers’ efforts towards providing basic vocational training to teenagers without legal residential status. However, for reasons of equal rights and opportunities, the FSPC argues for a more decisive amendment of the current legislation in its official response to the Federal Office for Migration FOM.

The draft bill is dominated by discretionary provisions. The cantons are free to implement them at their own discretion. This inevitably leads to unequal treatment. And this runs counter to the principle of equal rights and opportunities. Therefore, the FSPC demands that the discretionary provisions be replaced by statutory provisions.

The period for submitting an application for a residence permit should be extended to two years. While even graduating teenagers without an immigrant background are not always able to find an apprenticeship position right away, teenage immigrants have an even harder time entering the workforce.

In its legislative goals, the FSPC emphasizes that Swiss immigration policy must include an element of mercy towards strangers just as the Gospel teaches. The emergence of a disillusioned and illegalized underclass poses a major threat to the fabric of society. The FSPC has repeatedly pointed out that teenagers need special protection and have a right to an education. Vocational training is an essential foundation for the future life of teenagers. Therefore, a liberal regularization of teenage undocumented immigrants is a key concern for the FSPC.